Back in April, we published a post about the not-so-subtle changes taking place at NewsOK.com. Basically, how the site is transitioning from an average newspaper homepage to a below-average news aggregator super hub. One specific item we touched on was the launch of the “new and improved” “Digital Desk.”
This is what we had to say:
The site is also in the midst of posting sprightly little columns from something called the ”The Digital Desk.” They kind of remind me of the stories you’d see at BuzzFeed but probably not click on. That’s probably a good thing because the posts are kind of boring. Here are two recent examples. Make sure you drink some caffeine before trying to read them.
6 types of people you might have seen at Norman Music Festival: My favorite is Number 6. It shows a photograph of people taking cover from rain with the caption “People who would not let rain keep them from enjoying the festival.”
20 ways people responded to news of Russell Westbrook’s injury: I have no comment about this post. That’s how awful it is.
Now this is where things get creepy. When they’re not ripping off BuzzFeed, it looks like the Digital Desk is trying to stoop down to our level and write blog posts about Oklahoman weather and weathermen! This development has led to people asking me if we’re worried that OPUBCO is trying to force us to move to Enid or something.
Well, it looks like I can continue sending my Enid realtor to voicemail. Things have not improved at the NewsOK.com Digital Desk. In fact, you can its content has gotten worse. Check out some of newer posts. These are totally real:
5 things Oklahomans should remember about ‘The Biggest Loser’ before they audition this Saturday. That’s real. I swear I didn’t make it up. They really published the post, and somehow “Be Morbidly Obese and Jolly” wasn’t number one. They also didn’t make fun of Neil Harmer for falling off a treadmill. Basically, the the post was preachy, boring and something you’d never want to read.
4 reasons why ‘Iron Man 3′ was a horrible start to Marvel’s Phase 2. Word of advice to all web writers, editors and publishers. If you want to write a list and only have four items on it, either don’t write the list or come up with a fifth item. It’s not that hard.
Whatever it is that Rob Hibbard is doing. I’m pretty sure he writes all of his experimental posts while smoking bad weed and listening to Mars Volta. He’s either on some genius level that we don’t comprehend or just really really depressed.
Yeah, it’s quite obvious that the people behind the NewsOK Digital Desk really don’t know what they’re doing. They’re clueless, trying too hard, and I kind of feel sorry for them. They remind me of a 50-year-old wearing a Tommy Bahama shirt to a rock concert.
In effort to have a little fun, we came up with a list of 33 totally awesome story ideas that we wouldn’t be surprised to see on the NewsOK.com Digital Desk. Here they are:
1. The 20 Hottest Women In The Oklahoma City Print Media
2. 23 Best Places in OKC to Avoid Gay People
3. Steve Lackmeyer’s 11 favorite White Water slides
This website has been around for six years now. In those six years a lot has happened to me personally. Let me get into that real quick (Editors Note: Joel wrote the single saddest, and longest story, I’ve ever read. No one wants to read that. Let me explain what we are doing. As part of our birthday celebrations, I thought it would be a good time to get nostalgic and countdown the most memorable photos we’ve posted over the years. For that task, I contacted Joel. And here we are). That’s when I got the text from Patrick asking if I wanted to write about photos, so I crawled off the top of the Bricktown Parking Garage and decided to write!
There’s a lot of reasons people like photographs. Well, non-blind folks anyway. Each day there are 4,895,032,345,912,453 pics added to the internet. While that number may seem like a lot, it is, because I just made it up. After a weekend at TLO headquarters we decided these are the best 20 that have appeared on this site in the last six years. Sure, none of them involve me, but that’s a good thing. For you.
There are a lot of important milestones that I remember from high school. It’s a great time of your life where you’re meeting all sorts of goals and benchmarks, and skipping algebra class to smoke pot behind the dumpster at the Second Street Denny’s. You’re finally discovering who you were born to be, while also crying in a bathroom stall while people talk about you behind your back in the cafeteria.
Things like your driver’s test, going to prom, underage drinking, standardized tests, big football games, fingerbanging—all important parts of being a teenager in America. And for some, there’s also the letter jacket experience. That’s right, readers. I’m talking about being a jock. It’s that special condition that makes you better than everyone else because you are a player on the sportsball team….or band. But some kids in Moore won’t get to show off their sportiness.
According to KFOR.com:
You know that wonderful cliche “time flies when you’re having fun?” Well, apparently we’re having too much fun because I totally forgot to mention that yesterday was TLO’s sixth birthday. Yes, we’ve been muckraking, causing problems and glorifying Gary England for six years now. If you would have told me in 2007 that this site would eventually turn into a job and career, I would have asked if you were James the Marvel.
To celebrate this occasion, I thought it would be neat to give you a little glimpse into the creation of TLO by publishing the original emails that started it all. Tony unearthed them a few weeks ago while digging through his in-box. They are interesting, embarrassing, awkward and perfectly sum up how strange ideas can catch fire in the Internet age.
First, let me set the stage.
Back in 2007, I was married, worked in marketing and was extremely bored. I owned a message board / blog called HornetsCentral.com, but with Berry’s Buzzers returning home and the NBA’s future in OKC being unclear, I needed to do something different. Eventually, I came up with the idea to create an offbeat local blog about Oklahoma people, places and things. I thought it could work, but I needed help to get it started. Then, just a few days after having my light bulb moment, I discovered through a backlink on Hornets Central a blogger who was attempting to do that very same thing. His name was Tony. I sent him the following weird and awkward email:
Hey guys, I judged a bikini contest at Twin Peaks last night (pic above). For whatever reason, the emcee thought I was a “celebrity judge” from News Channel 4. So as I write this, I am filled with the confidence of a news anchor from one of our best news stations. Also, I should probably free Jesse Wells from the trunk of my car.
Actually, screw that. Jesse can wait. I want to touch on something that isn’t funny. In fact, it might just piss you off. Our state has decided to cut the taxes for the wealthiest 1%.
Here’s a breakdown of the bill by OKpolicy.org:
An income tax cut deal has been reached between Governor Fallin and Legislative leadership. The proposal is moving through the Legislature as HB 2032.
The bill would lower the top income tax rate from 5.25 to 5.0 percent in 2015. A trigger would reduce to top rate again to 4.85 percent in 2016 or later, whenever revenue increases by more than the cost of the reduction.
Under this plan, 41 percent of Oklahomans will not see any tax reduction. Most lower- and middle-income families would not receive any tax cut, and the average tax reduction for middle-income families would be just $30. Altogether, the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers would receive just 9 percent of the benefit.
Let’s go over that again. This time visually:
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